Not every accident case settles right away. Some might take months of negotiation, which continue after a lawsuit is filed. It is not unusual for our Eugene personal injury clients to have to sit for a deposition as part of the “discovery” process.
Just what is a deposition, and should you be worried? Our personal injury lawyer in Eugene reviews the most important things you need to know.
To prepare for trial, each side needs to fully flesh out the facts of what happened. Often, this requires requesting documents from the other side, like a copy of an insurance policy or car maintenance records.
A deposition is another important technique for uncovering information. You will meet in a conference room with a court reporter and your lawyers. The defendant’s lawyer will ask you questions, typically about your memories of the accident and the severity of your injuries.
When we represent personal injury plaintiffs, we often depose the defendant to get their side of things. Everyone answers questions under oath, and in certain situations your deposition testimony can be introduced later at trial.
Preparing for a Deposition
You can prepare by going over important documents with your lawyer and discussing generally what to expect. Every lawyer approaches depositions differently, depending on the client. The goal isn’t to “coach” our client in what they should say. Instead, our goal is to give you an overview of what to expect and help refresh your memory about what happened. Share any concerns you have with your attorney.
Our Tips for Giving a Deposition
Depositions are important events. If you are sitting for one, that means your case hasn’t yet settled and your lawyer has already filed a lawsuit.
Although important, depositions are nothing to be afraid of. You can come through yours with flying colors if you follow these tips:
- Get a good nights’ rest. A deposition could potentially take all day and you want to be well rested.
- Always listen to the question and don’t talk over the attorney.
- Think before answering. The goal isn’t to have a friendly chat with someone but to provide accurate, targeted answers to specific questions. If the conversation feels kind of “stop and go,” that’s okay. That means you’re listening and thinking before talking.
- Finish your answer. Don’t let a lawyer talk over you or cut you off.
- Ask your lawyer to help if you feel bullied. Some lawyers become unnecessarily aggressive. They might raise their voice, talk over you, or call you a liar. Your lawyer is sitting right beside you during the deposition to serve as your advocate.
- Take a break if needed. You might feel tired and need a snack to refresh or go to the bathroom.
- Always tell the truth. You are under oath, and the truth usually comes out anyway.